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K-State Today

June 17, 2016

Kansas State University researcher presents at International Symposium on Beef Cattle Welfare

Submitted by Mofazzal Hossain

Mofazzal Hossain, a postdoctoral research associate in diagnostic medicine/pathobiology in the College of Veterinary Medicine, presented his research findings at the fifth International Symposium on Beef Cattle Welfare June 8-10 at the K-State Alumni Center.

Hossain is conducting research on the design and development of multiplex serological assays for the detection of bovine viral diarrhea virus, or BVDV, antibodies in cattle. BVDV is a member of the Pestivirus genus of the family Flaviviridae. In North America, more than 65 years ago, a diarrheal disease was discovered in cattle. The virus causing the disease was named BVDV and the disease was referred to as bovine viral diarrhea, or BVD. BVD is now one of the world's most costly cattle diseases. It can cause reduced herd productivity, health and reproductive efficiency. BVDV continues to be a major problem for the livestock industry.

BVDV infection in cattle can be categorized into three types: acute infection, fetal infection and persistent infection, or PI. Each type results in varying degrees of severity ranging from mild to severe illness in cattle. Persistent infection cattle with BVDV are defective and cannot be cured. Once a persistent infection develops, there exists a potential threat to other healthy animal. Persistent infection animals carry the virus in their body and spread it to other healthy animals in their surroundings. The main mode of transmission is through direct contact with body fluids of infected animals. In previous research, it was observed that direct contact for the duration of one hour with a persistent infection animal is sufficient for the transmission of the virus to a healthy animal. In order to detect infection, BVDV diagnostics are used for two prime reasons. The first is to identify if BVDV is a cause of any clinical problems that have been identified. The second purpose of BVDV diagnostic assay is the identification of persistent infection cattle. 

The beef cattle research scientist's slogan is "Healthy People, Healthy Cattle, Healthy Planet." For healthy cattle, cattle enemy virus BVDV needs to be eradicated. To eliminate BVDV, a very sensitive, reliable, cheap and rapid diagnostic assay system is required, because some of the cattle may appear healthy when they are actually not.

The elimination and control of BVDV is the most challenging tasks facing the livestock industry throughout the world. One of the key strategies to achieving BVDV elimination is to reduce the transmission of infection to susceptible animals by removing the infected animal from herds. Prior to removing the animals from the herd, the identification of BVDV infected animals is required to quarantine and isolate.

Currently, a novel multiplex fluorescence microsphere immunoassay has been developed that can detect three classes — IgA, IgG and IgM — of BVDV antibody in a single cattle serum sample. Multiplex fluorescent multiplexed bead-based immunoassay, or FIMA, based detection of BVDV antigens specific IgA in cattle sera is a new development in BVDV diagnosis. Multiplex detection of BVDV IgA, IgG, and IgM antibodies in cattle serum sample is a novel confirmatory diagnostic approach. Therefore, the detection of infection with multiple recombinant BVDV antigen targets in FMIA is an alternative diagnostic tool over the traditional enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Development of a reliable sensitive FMIA method to detect BVDV-specific antibodies in cattle could expedite the progress of control programs that focus on achieving the goal of BVDV control and eventual eradication.

This project is currently being led by Bob Rowland, professor of diagnostic medicine/pathobiology at Kansas State University. Hossain expresses his gratitude to Rowland for his continual support and encouragement.